WESTERN Ky. (7/12/14) — Set back in the hills of western Kentucky, Copper Canyon Ranch is a fully operated tourist attraction with a complete authentic 1880s western backdrop, loaded with furnishings from the era.
The idea of Copper Canyon Ranch generated from Kaintuck Territory, a western theme park located near Benton that operated in the 1960s and 1970s.
“Bill Willingham was my mentor,” said owner Tim Emery. “Of course, he was hired from Universal Studios, and he was the one in charge of setting up the town and directing all the shows. If it weren’t for Bill and loving the western era and gunfights, there wouldn’t be a Copper Canyon. I give Bill full credit.”
Unfortunately, the park was shut down, and then torn down.
“When I got back from touring with my band, it was demolished,” said Emery. “Windows were broken; walls had been caved in; it looked really sad.”
After visiting the park a couple times after it was demolished, Emery began to build on his dream.
“About 30 years ago, I had a dream,” said Emery. “I had acquired the park and all the actors came to me and said, ‘Tim if you build Kaintuck back, we will help you.’ In my dream, everyone was out there helping me rebuild … then, I woke up from the best dream I ever had. I was so dang mad, I tried to go back to sleep. But, that day, when I got up, I drove a stick in the ground and started building me a gun town, and haven’t stopped since then.”
Emery said he has always been big into acting, and won his first talent contest when he was in third grade.
“I have always loved western movies and acting,” said Emery. “I won my first talent contest in third grade and a standing ovation for it … from then on, I never stopped. There is nothing like that rush you get, when you get a crowd going.”
Emery said when the ranch has a really big crowd, the whole place has a unique atmosphere.
“It’s a whole new world, when you have an audience watching you,” said Emery. “The participation you get from them … that’s what I live for, that’s what I build for.”
The ranch provides more than just live gun shows and performances.
“We also have a stocked pond for fishing,” said Emery. “It’s a catch and release type of thing. We also allow people to see and pet our herd.”
Chad Fuller, owner and son of Emery, said they also do video productions and photography sessions.
“We had a photography company and models out here not that long ago for a photo shoot,” said Fuller. “We have also had several movies filmed out here, such as ‘Hatfields & McCoys,’ ‘Bad Blood’ with Christian Slater, ‘Revelation Trail,’ ‘Gun Town,’ ‘The Truck,’ ‘The Lashman,’ and a short film called, ‘Stitch.’”
Fuller said Revelation Trail will be out on Netflix next month, and he and his dad have played parts in some of the films.
“’Revelation Trail’ is a zombie movie that takes place during the 1800s,” said Fuller. “You can pre-order it now and watch the movie trailer on youtube or you can find it on our site. You can watch trailers for all the films on our actual site.”
To see the trailer for ‘Revelation Trail,” visithttp://youtu.be/ZC7Cg3j5cm8.
Fuller is also working on another film called “Caged.” Like “Stitch,” it is also a X-Rea Production.
“It’s another short film I’ve been helping out on,” said Fuller. “It should be out sometime at the end of this year. I play the mean step-father, and the main guy is training to be a cage fighter … it’s pretty cool.”
Recently, country music duo Florida Georgia Line came out, and recorded a lyric video for their new song, “Dirt.”
“One of the most exciting things we have coming up, is the lyric video Florida Georgia Line filmed out here,” said Fuller. “They haven’t released the lyric video just yet; it was done by the label, and everything. They shot most of the video here. I actually got to play the grave digger part.”
Fuller said they were able to keep most of the props that were used in the video with the lyrics on them.
“Sometimes they use computer graphics for the wording,” said Fuller. “What sets this apart from all the rest is that they used physical props with the lyrics on them. They actually took the time putting this stuff together.”
Fuller said the month of Octobert is their busiest time, but that they have been busy this month as well.
“The fall is normally our busiest time of year,” said Fuller. “We have a haunted house open to the public. This has been a pretty busy month, too. We recorded that video, and now I am headed to Nashville this weekend to see a few film premieres of movies that were shot here.”
Fuller said they have been working on finding different ways of reaching out to different places in Kentucky to draw in a new crowd.
“We really want people from all around Kentucky to come out and visit,” said Fuller. “I have been really working hard at spreading the word around. I have revamped the Facebook and website to make it more exciting.”
Both Emery and Fuller encourage people to come out any time and not wait until the fall.
Copper Canyon Ranch is located 14750 Ovil Road Hopkinsville.
For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/pages/Copper-Canyon-Ranch/245461037784 orhttp://www.coppercanyonkentucky.com/.
SurfKY Lead News Reporter
SurfKY News Photos/Amber Averitt
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